Brexit 1) Johnson “increasingly optimistic” about a deal being agreed today

“Boris Johnson is increasingly optimistic that a Brexit deal could be agreed before the end of the week as negotiators began work on a draft text in Brussels. EU leaders are primed to discuss a new deal on Wednesday when they meet for a three-day summit during which the Prime Minister hopes they will sign off the wording of an agreement. Hardline Brexiteers emerged from an 80-minute briefing in Downing Street suggesting they would be prepared to vote for a deal, raising hopes that Parliament could back it in a vote on Saturday. The Prime Minister has insisted for months that Britain will leave the EU on Oct 31 “no ifs or buts” and his aides scoffed at reports that a short extension beyond the deadline will be needed to thrash out all the details of a deal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We are closing in on a deal that would enable the UK to reap the full benefits of Brexit – Shanker Singham, Daily Telegraph
  • Teams scrambling to finalise legal text – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • “No deal” could cut UK-EU trade flows by half – Financial Times
  • EU “terrified” that Britain could chart its own course – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: Johnson’s plan. Less Unionist than May’s deal but more free-trading?

>Yesterday: Columnist James Frayne: Voters would welcome a Brexit deal. But it might harm and not help the Conservatives with working class voters.

Brexit 2)…And the EU seems to want an extension

“Boris Johnson is fighting attempts by the EU to delay Brexit until next year as negotiators worked through the night to secure a deal. Brussels raised hopes of a breakthrough before the European summit tomorrow, with officials scrambling to prepare a draft treaty text. However, the prospect of a deal came with a warning, echoed in Berlin and Paris, that the technical details might take until January 1 to finalise. Mr Johnson’s allies insisted that EU nations were split over the desirability of further delay. One said there was “strong desire among powerful forces to get this sorted”.” – The Times

Brexit 3) The Prime Minister will address the Cabinet at four o’clock and the 1922 at seven o’clock

“Yesterday, Michel Barnier had set Johnson a deadline of midnight Wednesday to concede to EU demands and agree to a customs border in the Irish Sea or be left with nothing to take to the Commons. The prime minister will brief his cabinet on the situation at 4pm on Wednesday before addressing a scheduled meeting of the 1922 Committee in the evening.” – The Guardian

Brexit 4) The DUP is non-commital…

“The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said further work is required before it will back any fresh Brexit agreement. Members of the party met Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the second night in a row amid speculation a deal is close. Earlier, party leader Arlene Foster said the DUP would “stick with our principles” that NI “must remain” in the United Kingdom’s customs union. It comes after the Guardian said the UK has made further concessions over the issue of customs and the Irish border. Downing Street has played down reports of an imminent deal with the EU. In a statement following the 90-minute meeting, the DUP said: “We respect the fact negotiations are ongoing therefore cannot give a detailed commentary but it would be fair to indicate gaps remain and further work is required.” – BBC

  • Negotiators understood to have agreed in principle to customs border down Irish Sea – The Guardian
  • DUP faces hard choices on trust and Brexit – Financial Times

>Yesterday: WATCH: Foster – Any deal must respect “the constitutional and economic place of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom”

Brexit 5) …as is the ERG.

“Steve Baker, the chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, said after attending a meeting in No 10 that he was optimistic that a deal could be reached. He said: “We had very constructive talks with the government but there’s very little I can say. It wouldn’t be right to give you any details. “It was a very constructive conversation and I am optimistic that it is possible for us to reach a tolerable deal that I will be able to vote for.” After a meeting of the ERG last night Mr Baker went further: “I absolutely can rely on Boris Johnson to take us out of the European Union,” he said. “The mood of the Eurosceptics meeting here tonight was that we do, we can and we must trust the PM.” Mr Baker went to the meeting at Downing Street with Mark Francois, the deputy chairman of the ERG, who said it had been interesting and that there would be “further chats to have”.” – The Times

  • There’s a whiff of sexism about it, claims Rudd – The Times


Brexit 6) But Paterson and Duncan Smith are unhappy

“Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson became the first senior MP to denounce the fledgling deal in public. In a blow for No10, the ex-Northern Ireland Secretary dubbed it “absurd” and “unacceptable” in an interview with The Sun. Mr Johnson is facing a knife edge vote in the Commons to pass any deal he agrees in Brussels, and must slash the number of Tory rebels to single figures….Former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith was also said by other MPs to also be unhappy, and is reported to have “exploded” at senior No10 officials over how the PM has kept almost everyone in the dark over the negotiation. But IDS last night hit back to insist he hadn’t lost his temper during the No10 talks, but had remonstrated with officials over the legal grounding of the PM’s proposals.” – The Sun

>Today: Owen Paterson on Comment: Enough is enough. We must leave the EU by October 31 – and not a day later

Brexit 7) Will the Commons meet on Saturday?

“MPs have been kept guessing over whether they will be called to the Commons on Saturday, with some complaining about having to be in Westminster for 9.30 on a weekend morning. The fate of what would be the first Saturday sitting of parliament since the Falklands conflict was in doubt last night after ministers said it would only go ahead if this week’s European Council meeting produced a clear outcome. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, dismissed complaints from opposition MPs about the uncertainty, saying that “to meet twice or three times on a Saturday in 70 years is not too inconvenient even for those with the most pressing diary concerns”. A Saturday sitting is widely expected in Westminster and ministers hope to be able to ask MPs to approve a deal agreed in Brussels the previous day.” – The Times

Brexit 8) Sandbach loses constituency vote of confidence

“An MP who was sacked by Boris Johnson for rebelling on Brexit has lost a vote of confidence among members of her local Conservative party association. Antoinette Sandbach is appealing the withdrawal of the Tory whip, following the prime minister’s decision to remove it after she voted with opposition MPs to take control of the Commons order paper last month. But Tory party members in her Eddisbury constituency in Cheshire passed a vote of no confidence in her on Tuesday. The ballot was symbolic but opens the door to formal deselection.” – The Guardian

  • Expelled Tory rebels could be allowed back if they vote for the deal – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: MPsETC: The Eddisbury Association votes to deselect Sandbach

 Brexit 9) Tory rebels to back taking control of Commons agenda

“Rebel Tory MPs are drawing up plans for an emergency debate tomorrow to seize control of Parliament’s agenda again over Brexit. Some of the suspended 21 Tories want to vote with Labour again to take control of the Commons on Saturday to approve any exit deal. They want to close off any bid by Boris Johnson to escape the Benn Act which demands a three-month delay if there is no Brexit deal. Tory rebels fear Eurosceptics in the party will back the PM’s deal during business before voting down a later Bill to enforce it so that the UK leaves with no deal on October 31.” – The Sun

Sturgeon says second independence referendum “must happen next year”

“A second referendum on Scottish independence “must happen next year”, Nicola Sturgeon has told the SNP conference. Ms Sturgeon confirmed that she will ask the UK government for formal consent by the end of this year. She said Westminster had “no right” to block the request, and its opposition to indyref2 is “not sustainable”. But she stressed any referendum had to be legal if the result was to be recognised internationally.” – BBC

Labour MPs resist Corbyn’s backing for an early General Election

“Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of forcing his party to back a general election have been hit by an internal briefing that only deepened fears among MPs of a heavy defeat at the polls. Ian Lavery and Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinators, presented an upbeat message to a meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) on Monday night but their claims that the party had “never been in better shape” to fight an election were met with incredulity. “What colour is the sky on your planet?” demanded Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham.” – The Times

Raab suspends new arms deals with Turkey

“Britain has suspended new arms deals with Turkey after assaults on Kurds in northern Syria. No exports licences will be granted to the fellow Nato country for equipment that could be used in military operations. But ministers stopped short of following Italy, France and Germany in suspending all weapons sales to Turkey. Boris Johnson’s move follows tough new sanctions imposed on Ankara by Donald Trump. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs yesterday that defence exports to Turkey would continue to be reviewed and that no new licences for weapons that might be used in the conflict would be granted.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: WATCH: Raab and Tugendhat share their dismay at Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds

McVey “to send in A -team” to boost house building

“A “planning A-Team” will bring the ethos of the Eighties TV commando unit to councils to encourage the building of more new homes. Esther McVey, the housing minister, will send a crack team of specialist planners, designers or ecologists into councils that are struggling to approve new developments and regeneration schemes….Ministers fear that a lack of skills is holding up schemes and threatening their attempt to meet a pledge to build 300,000 homes a year.” – The Times

>Today: Jack Airey on Local Government: The planning process is burdensome and risky for developers – while imposing eyesores on our communities

Chaos as Hong Kong’s ‘state of the union’ disrupted

“Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was forced to suspend her annual address after being heckled in the city’s parliament. Opposition lawmakers disrupted the session from the start by shouting and projecting slogans. After a first interruption, the session resumed only to be interrupted again. It was then suspended, with the address delivered by pre-recorded video. The suspension means the extradition bill – which sparked months of protests – was unable to be withdrawn formally.” – BBC

Royal Mail workers vote to strike

“Royal Mail workers have threatened to hit Christmas deliveries after voting for strikes in a row over job security. The Communication Workers Union say they set to call ‘the first national postal strike in a decade’ following a vote today. The union’s members backed industrial action by 97 per cent in a turnout of almost 76 per cent. No date has yet been given but the timing of the action raises fears it could hit Christmas deliveries.” – Daily Mail

PM calls for UEFA to take action against racism

“Boris Johnson has joined demands by anti-racism campaigners for Uefa to take strong action after the racist chanting that marred England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria on Monday night. European football’s governing body has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) for racist behaviour of its supporters after the incidents at the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, in which some home fans made monkey noises at Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford in the 6-0 victory for Gareth Southgate’s side.” – The Guardian

Carswell: Why the EU’s silence on Catalonia?

“Nine leaders of the Catalan nationalist movement have been imprisoned for organising an independence “referendum” in 2017. The poll they ran was, by any objective measure, neither free nor fair. The Spanish government would have been entirely justified to have simply ignored it. But they did much more than that, incarcerating those that ran it, inflaming opinion, and stoking up precisely the separatist sentiments that they fear…But it is not only the actions of Spain that are revealing. This sordid episode tells us what the EU is really about, too. As nine Catalan leaders were locked up for their beliefs, those EU institutions we are endlessly led to believe exist to safeguard freedom and democracy stayed silent.” – Douglas Carswell, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Why universities should lend money to their own students – Syed Kamall, CapX
  • Is hate crime really on the rise? – Toby Young, The Spectator
  • Woke revolutionaries will make injustice worse – John Gray, Unherd
  • Johnson’s deal would mean a hard Brexit – Sean O’Grady, Independent
  • Britain stands ready to usher in a new golden era of free trade – Liz Truss, 1828